Review – Azul: Crystal Mosaic

New plastic overlays and player boards!

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Designer Michael Kiesling

Artist Chris Quilliams

Publisher Next Move Games

Category Expansion

Length 20-45 min

Release Date 2020

Player Count 2-4

The beloved Azul is the catalyst of many expansions and sequels. This one is the simplest and best. Azul: Crystal Mosaic includes 4 plastic overlays that players can place over their boards to keep tiles in place and 4 new player boards. 

Review

Azul: Crystal Mosaic is the simplest Azul expansion or sequel you can find. The plastic overlays fit perfectly over the original player boards and help keep all the tiles in place. It’s almost clutz-proof; “almost” because it won’t save your pieces if you knock your player board onto the floor. 

The 4 new, double-sided player boards provide additional challenges. On one side of the board, there’s 5 pre-printed spots where specific-colored tiles need to be placed, but once you place them and score them, you’ll get x2 points! On the other side of the board, there’s also 5 pre-printed spots where certain-colored tiles need to be placed, only you don’t get x2 points… and the 5 pre-printed spots are such that you can’t use the normal diagonal pattern for each of the 5 colors, so you’ll need to be extra vigilant so you don’t accidentally scumbag yourself out of being able to place all 5 colors in each row and column. 

The plastic overlays are great, but not entirely necessary. Same for the new player boards, though they do add a good bit of variety and challenge. Azul is an excellent game by itself, and much-beloved in my house. Azul: Crystal Mosaic simply adds to the already-great gameplay of Azul, and that’s why I heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys Azul and is looking for a quality of life upgrade (plastic overlays) and some additional variety and challenge (player boards). 

Next Move Games kindly provided a review copy. 

Note: The pics above show a plastic factory placeholder promo. This is NOT included in Azul: Crystal Mosaic, but I had it so I thought I’d show it. It’s really not that helpful gameplay-wise as the tiles catch on the plastic instead of just sliding right off the factories, but it does keep things nice and spaced.

The Bottom Line

If you like Azul, Crystal Mosaic gives you more of what you like.

 

8.5

spencer
Author: Spencer Patterson

I'm a teacher, writer, and board game reviewer. I especially love board games that pull me in like a good book. My wife is my favorite gaming partner.